MAC: Mines and Communities

Mining Arrives In Cuautitlan, Mexico, But Is Halted By Indigenous People

Published by MAC on 2005-11-24
Source: Indigenous People

Mining arrives in Cuautitlan, Mexico, but is halted by Indigenous People

by Indigenous People

24th November 2005

Agustín del Castillo, Guadalajara, México

Old wounds have been reopened in the primarily indigenous region of Sierra de Manantlán, Mexico. On Tuesday November 22, machinery and workers of the mining company Peña Colorada entered into commonly-held Ayotitlán territories in search of 50,000 tons of iron, but were blocked by almost a hundred native Nahuas from the locality of Telcruz who came to the site and halted the operation. As of yesterday night, the machinery was still sitting unused at the site as the campesinos continued their internal discussions over whether to confront or support the powerful mining company from Minatitlán, Colima.

"On the part of the municipal government, we have notified officials of the Federal Office of Environmental Protection (PROFEPA), that the company has entered over one kilometre into our lands with their machines and has clear cut trees, and although they claim that they have permits from SEMARNAT (Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources), we have grave doubts," said the municipal secretary of Cuautitlán, Fredy Díaz.

In an interview via telephone, the official emphasised the climate of anger in the indigenous towns because of the presence of the mining company. "Those who stopped the machines were primarily folks from Telcruz, who live closest to the sites that the company wants to explore, but in the following days, many people from Ayotitlán and other communities have joined them," said Díaz.

The campesinos decry that environmental authorities have done nothing about the incident. "If they find a campesino gathering wood for the kitchen, they’ll haul them off to jail, but when it comes to dealing with this company, they get cold feet," commented one resident.

The problem is aggravated because it appears sure that there are large deposits of minerals in this agricultural centre. And if this weren’t enough, the riches are buried below the Biosphere Reserve of the same name, although current law prevents all mining activities. What is certain is that all of these mountains were awarded mining concessions before the ecological reserve was created, the largest area of natural protection in the whole West of the country.

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